Former WWE CEO Vince McMahon paid nearly $20 million in unrecorded company expenses, including $5 million to Donald Trump's charity, the company's board has reportedly found.
That's according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, which says WWE revealed in securities filings that $19.6 million in payments from McMahon's pocket should have been disclosed as business expenses "because the transactions benefited the company." This reportedly included a $4 million contribution to the Donald J. Trump Foundation in 2007 and another $1 million in 2009.
Trump famously appeared at WWE's WrestleMania in 2007, shaving McMahon's head as part of a "Battle of the Billionaires" match. Trump also appeared on WWE's Raw in 2009. According to the Journal, Trump's WrestleMania contract stated McMahon would donate a $4 million appearance fee to his charity, and Trump reportedly also claimed McMahon agreed to give him another $1 million because the appearance was successful.
But a WWE attorney told the Journal there was no additional contribution made "due to the success of the event." Instead, the attorney said WWE paid Trump a $1 million appearance fee and that "at the same time, the McMahons made a personal contribution to the Trump Foundation of $4 million." The attorney also said Trump was paid a $100,000 appearance fee for Raw in 2009, and "at the same time," the McMahons donated $1 million to the foundation. Trump's charity was dissolved in 2018 after he was accused of misusing funds.
The revelation comes as the WWE board has been probing allegations that McMahon paid over $12 million in hush money to cover up allegations of sexual misconduct. McMahon recently announced his retirement amid the probe, which WWE says is now "substantially complete."